Thursday, August 21, 2014

Jacob Reisner in the Census 1910-1920

My mother-in-law's mother, Rose (Levitt) Goldstein, was one of four children of Max Levitt (1858-1935) and Golda Segal (1869-1952). I shared census records for her family from 1900-1930 early on in this blog.

Rose also had three or four older half-siblings, children of Max Levitt and his first wife, Adele, who died before the family came to America:

Manuel Levitt: He was supposedly born about 1883 in Russia and "ran away" when told the family would be going from New York City to Woodbine, New Jersey. I have found no evidence to support this story. Interestingly enough, I found that Max Levitt's brother's name was Emanuel Levitas and he remained in New York.

Minnie Levitt: She was born June 1887 in Russia according to the 1900 census. I have found no more information about her.

Rebecca Levitt: She was born about 1889 in Russia and was the one cousin whose family kept in touch with her younger half-siblings.

David Levitt: I have several conflicting birth dates (and birth places) for him, ranging from 1885-1891, in Austria, Russia, New York or New Jersey.

I have found some basic information about Rebecca Levitt.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Jacob Reisner's Passenger List, 1905

I believe I have found the passenger list that shows when Jacob Reisner arrived in the United States. At, I searched in the New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957, for Jacob Reisner, born about 1888 in Austria (date and place from his marriage license). (I also have a middle initial of N from other sources.)

The result shows Jankew N. Reisner on a List of Aliens Held for Special Inquiry., New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957 (Provo, UT, USA, Operations, Inc., 2010),, Database online. Year: 1905; Microfilm serial: T715; Microfilm roll: T715_534;
Ship: Zeeland, List: Special Inquiry, Line: 21; Image number: 180 of 990. Record for Jankew [Jacob] N. Reisner.
I have marked this image to draw your eye to certain items on this page. First of all, he arrived on the S. S. Zeeland on February 7, 1905, at 10 AM, from Antwerp.

(1) Jankew N. Reisner appears on line 21 here. To the left of the line number 21 is 16, which is his age. I am making an educated guess that this is Jacob N. Reisner who later married into the Levitt family. To the right of his name is A9, which represents that he appears on manifest A, line 9. I was able to use this information to find the original passenger list, which is NOT currently indexed. Note the young man listed below him, Uscher Sumer, also age 16. His name appears just below Jankew's on the original passenger list and he was also held for special inquiry.

(2) Cause of Detention is L.P.C. which represents "Likely Public Charge" which means he could be excluded as one who might become a burden on the public. This was part of the immigration law at the time.

(3) The scribble here is simply the initials or name of the initial inspector who made the L.P.C. determination and decided he needed to go before the board of special inquiry.

(4) 2/7 represents the date that Jankew [Jacob] had his hearing. 4 is the page number of the recorder's book where his information was recorded. (Unfortunately, most of these records have been destroyed.) It looks like his hearing was at 3:47 in the afternoon. (Uscher Sumer had his hearing at 4:00.)

(5) The numbers in the right columns indicate the number of meals provided (at a cost to the shipping company). It looks like Jankew (and his friend) got just one meal, lunch, before heading to his destination in New York City.

The man on the list above him left on the S.S. Zeeland when it left New York on February 10. This would have been at the expense of the shipping company.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Wedding Wednesday ~ Jacob Reisner and Rebecca Levitt

Rebecca Levitt is a half-sister of my husband's grandmother, Rose. I recently acquired her marriage license via the Family History Library photoduplication services. I am trying to explore every avenue to try to figure out where the Levitt family was originally from.

New York, New York, Manhattan Marriages, FHL Microfilm 1613232, Certificate No. 19430.
Jacob Reisner and Rebecca Levitt, August 12, 1911.; Family History Library microfilm.

  • Groom, Jacob Reisner and bride, Rebecca Levitt.
  • Both lived at 131 Ridge Str. in New York City.
  • He is 23 years old (born about 1888); she is 21 years old (born about 1890). I actually have a variety of birth dates for both of them, but these are within the range.
  • They are both single (not widowed or divorced) and his occupation is Tailor (which matches all the other records I find for him). This is the first marriage for both of them.
  • Both list their birth places as Austrya (Austria). This is one of those instances that I wish they listed a specific city or town, or at least a district or county!
  • Jacob lists his parents as Max Reisner and Rechil Silber (note the "Levitt" that is crossed out.)
  • Rebecca lists her parents as Manuel Levitt (this should be Max Levitt) and Hudel [?] Willer. This gives me a surname for her mother. All I had known was that her mother's name was Adele and that she died before her father, Max, immigrated to America with his children.
  • They were married on August 12, 1911, at 106 Foursyth [Forsyth] Str. by J. Marcus Skhiller, of 177 Norfolk Str.

On the back of the license, we get to see Jacob's and Rebecca's signatures, as well as the signatures of the witnesses, Abraham Reisner and Sam Prufer [?], whom I have not researched.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Sympathy Saturday ~ Reisner Twins

I would like to take this opportunity to remember twin sisters, one of whom died due to being born prematurely and the other who died as a teenager.

These girls were first cousins to my mother-in-law.

Manhattan (New York City) Death Certificates, 1919-1948. Certificate no. 1066 (1921), Sarah Reisner,
FHL Microfilm 2027054, Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah.

Sarah Reisner died on January 11, 1921, after having been born on January 9, 1921, to Jacob Reisner and Rebecca (Levitt) Reisner (half-sister to Rose (Levitt) Goldstein). The ONLY reason I knew to look for this death certificate is, again, thanks to the wonderful memory of my mother-in-law, who told me that her sister, Naomi Reisner, had a twin who died as a baby.
Photograph of Naomi Reisner
Courtesy: Jeff Kontoff

Sadly, Naomi Reisner died a couple of weeks before her 17th birthday, in Springfield, Massachusetts.

See Naomi's FindAGrave memorial here. Although her gravestone indicates that she died at 17 years old, she was actually just two weeks shy of her 17th birthday.

And Naomi's stone includes a photograph of her.

Thank you to Find A Grave volunteer, Jeff Kontoff, for all his work in the Jewish Cemeteries of West Springfield, and for giving permission to share this photograph here.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Wedding Wednesday ~ Morris Moskowitz Marriage License

I recently requested a marriage license via the Family History Library's Photoduplication Services for one Morris Moskowitz (no bride listed) in Manhattan in 1904, hoping it was the great uncle of my mother-in-law whom I've written about before. Census records for 1910 and 1930 indicate a marriage date of about 1904-1905. Their first child was born in June 1905, so a marriage date in 1904 was likely.

I found the following at Steve Morse's website (Accessing the New York City Marriage Indexes in One Step), searching on Morris Moskowitz in 1904:

When I click on "get bride," I get a "bride not found" message, so by requesting this image, I was just hoping that it was "my" Morris Moskowitz. This time I had success.

This is one of those cases where researching a collateral line gives me additional information about my husband's direct line.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

William Siegel's death - 1941

Rachel Segal Siegel
I have written several posts about my mother-in-law's Segal family. Her grandmother immigrated with her father and three siblings and I have shared a picture of the four siblings. Her great aunt Rachel had married William Seigel (or Siegel) before immigrating; I have blogged about the extended family's immigration from Hamburg to Glasgow to New York in 1891. has recently made Pennsylvania Death Certificates for 1906-1944 available. Because they are indexed, it has made it much easier to look for names of people that I think died in Pennsylvania and see if I can add to family records for some extended family members.

Following is the death certificate for William Siegel, Rachel's husband and a second great uncle of my husband., Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1924 (Provo, UT, USA, Operations, Inc., 2014),, Death Certificate No. 34287 / 7013. Record for William Siegel, died 27 March 1941.
William Siegel (in past records he was Seigel) died on March 27, 1941 at 75 years old, (born about 1866), leaving a wife named Rachael. He lived at 1610 N. 52nd Street and worked as a tailor.

I do learn here that his father's name is Isaac and that he and his parents were born in Russia. He was buried on March 28, 1941, at Montefiore Cemetery (Jenkintown, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania). The website offers a burial search so I could obtain his plot location. I have added a memorial for him at FindAGrave and hope someone will take a photo of his gravestone.

Stamped on the cause of death section is: "Information supplied by coroner's office on this certificate (not official) inquest pending!" An inquest is required to investigate the circumstances surrounding any "sudden or violent" death. This includes suicides, homicides, and accidental deaths in addition to certain disease-related or simply unknown causes of death.

Since he was buried the next day, presumably the inquest was completed quickly, but it would be interesting to know more about his cause of death.

July 8, 2014 update: My mother-in-law remembers hearing that he was hit by a car when walking to synagogue.

I have never researched in coroner's records so if anyone can point me to a resource for coroner's records in Philadelphia County, I'd be greatly appreciative!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Wedding Wednesday ~ Lillian Levitas and Max Messing

Lillian F. Levitas, cousin of my husband's grandmother, and sister of Dr. Matthew Levitas, married a doctor. Following is the marriage certificate from New York City:

New York, Brooklyn Marriage Certificates, 1866-1937, Family History Library Microfilm 1613735,
Certificate No. 14741. Max Messing and Lillian F. Levitas, December 27, 1914.
Max Messing, of Philadelphia, married Lillian F. Levitas, of 2124 65th Street, Brooklyn, on December 27, 1914. They were married at her home in Brooklyn by Nathan Cantor of Temple Emanu El.

Max lives in Philadelphia and is a physician. His parents are Simon Messing and Clara Heiser (though I haven't found any record of his parents in the U.S.). Max was born in Russia and is listed as 30 years old, though other records I have found for him indicate that he may have been 34 at the time of his marriage.

Lillian lives in Brooklyn and her parents are listed as Emanuel Levitas and Sara Rabin. (However, I have found her last name listed as Rabinowitz on two of her children's birth records.) Lillian was born in Newark, New Jersey and is just 19 years old.

Witnesses to the marriage are Harry Berlin and Irving K. Schwab. I wonder if some research into those men would shed any light into where the Levitas family originally was from...